Cost*: $629 to $829Dimensions and weight: 9½ by 7⅓ by ⅓ inches; 1.35 poundsBattery life: About 9 hoursPros: Stellar graphics; runs faster than many other tablets; syncs with free online hard drive iCloud; exclusive, carefully vetted apps not available on other devices.Cons: Can run only one app on the screen at a time; not all iPhone apps are perfectly adapted to the iPad.RS verdict: An excellent all-around pick. (Hey, it’s the most popular tablet for a reason.)*These are the prices at press time. The range is based on specs, including memory capacity and wireless access.Starting next month, you can read Real Simple on one; go to iTunes.com to download our app.Featured November 2011
Cost: $499 to $699Dimensions and weight: 7½ by 5 by ½ inches; 0.9 poundBattery life: About 7 hoursPros: Runs BlackBerry PlayBook apps; well-designed word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps included.Cons: Shorter battery life than others; smaller screen not as suitable for watching videos or reading.RS verdict: Ideal for dedicated BlackBerry users or people who need access to high-quality business apps.
Cost: $449 to $499Dimensions and weight: 10 by 7½ by ½ inches; 1.7 poundsBattery life: About 8½ hoursPros: Employs easy-to-use Android technology; comes with 30 free apps; option to customize modes for home, commute, and work use.Cons: Heavier than other tablets; can be slow to respond to finger taps; screen is prone to having glares.RS verdict: Physically clunky, but generally the best budget choice.
Cost: $499 to $599Dimensions and weight: 9 ¾ by 6 ⅔ by ½ inches; 1.6 poundsBattery life: About 8½ hoursPros: Runs on the Google Android operating system, meaning it’s optimal for using Gmail or Google Calendar; has a larger and sharper screen and more working memory than the iPad.Cons: Anyone can create an app for Android tablets, so you can be overwhelmed by all the choices.RS verdict: Not for novice tablet owners, since the interface isn’t very user-friendly.
Cost: $530 to $630Dimensions and weight: 10 by 7 by ⅓ inches; 1.25 poundsBattery life: About 9 hoursPros: Exclusive Social Hub app aggregates e-mails, social-network contacts, and calendar items into one interface.Cons: The battery takes longer to charge than those of other tablets.RS verdict: Perfect for users who want sleek iPad looks wedded to Android technology.